Our trip was a complete blast, but it's good to be home. As much as I love exploring snazzy restaurants and being introduced to unforgettable local dives, I always feel somewhat out of my element when I eat out for several days straight. Enough fast-paced urbanity, I'm feeling the need for some warm, homey comfort. It's been over two weeks since I made fresh bread, and I'm starting to go into withdrawal.
Close-up on Challah texture
Originally uploaded by Neenabeena
I first baked Challah on Rosh Hashanah 2006... in fact, I think that was the first time I ever baked bread. After experimenting with a bunch of different recipes with credentials spanning from Joy of Cooking to a friend's mom's, I tried this one from "New Kosher Cuisines for all Seasons," a compendium of recipes from the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston. This, to me, is the Platonic ideal of Challah -- light, buttery flavored crumb, not cake-y, doesn't dry out overnight, and doesn't involve 4 eggs. This is looming in my near future.
For 1 challah:
1 package dry yeast
1/4 c vegetable oil
3 1/4 c all purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1/8 c sugar
1 tsp salt
Proof yeast in a small bowl by mixing yeast, 1/4 c warm water, and oil.
In a large bowl, mix flour, eggs, sugar, salt, and 1/3 c warm water. Add dissolved yeast mixture, mix together and knead well. Cover and let rise anywhere from 1.5 hours to 4.5 hours.
Divide into three strands, and braid. Let rise another hour. Bake for 25 min.
The loaves supposedly freeze well, and don't go stale if left out overnight (yay for Challah for breakfast!)